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  1. #1
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    Recommendations for a Touring Bike for the Plus 50 Guy

    I recently posted a "Hello" to all those that I enjoyed reading their posts in the past. I have been absent from here and bicycling for the past four years due to the nature of the job that I had. Unfortunately or fortunately I have recently lost my driver's license for medical reasons - TIA's / small stroke. I'm thankful it was this minor. This is also a great chance for me to make a full time commitment to cycling. I'm sure my health will be better for it not to mention an improvement in general mental attitude with the ability to have transportation and not having to rely on others.

    The area that I live in since returning from the Philippines this past Friday is Fallbrook, Ca. It is a hill climbers dream and a bit of a challenge for me at this stage of my fitness level. There is nothing level around here. Even getting to the California Coast line is 19 miles away and Pacific Coast Highway is every bit as hilly as this area.

    So, I'm in the market for a touring bike and am considering a Surly Long Haul Trucker with 26 inch wheels verses 700c on another brand. My last bike was a Novara Randonee from REI that for all intent and purpose I was very pleased with. I kick myself, because prior to departing for the Philippines a month ago I sold some extremely nice components I had been collecting to build up another touring bike. Ironic! I'm not sure I need the 26 inch wheels, but did run into some issues with toe overlap and conflict with the bottom bottle cage and front fender on the Randonee with the 700c's. I don't know if these issues have been resolved in the latest model of the Randonee or not. If any of you have a current Randonee I would appreciate your feedback.

    Fred at Beach Smaller.jpg



    Additionally, I'm looking for recommendations on what I should be looking at. It is my plans to use Ortlieb Shopping bags or Backpacker Plus bags on the back at first to give me something to carry groceries, changes of clothing and my laptop.

    So, I am open to suggestions! Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
    F Thomas

    "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
    Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2010
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    F Thomas, I don't think you'll have toe overlap issues with most of the expedition level touring bikes unless you just have very large feet. Best to test ride a few brands, only you can determine what's best. Bruce Gordon is a very good brand to look at.

    Brad

  3. #3
    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    Sudbury, ON, CA
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    Hi FThomas, sorry to hear about your TIAs and small stroke, a friend is in the same boat, but glad to hear your back to cycling.

    Having moved from a MTB to a 29er, I would challenge your thought to go with 26" wheels, the ride on the 700c wheels is much more comfortable, smoother and since it appears that you'll be looking a road rather than offroad riding, I think you'll be better off. My tires are 700x38 so I get the benefit from both the larger wheels and the wider, slightly more cushioned, tire.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    Central Coast, CA
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    Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)
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    I have an LHT with 700c wheels, and I have size 14 feet. There is no problem with toe overlap in front. It never happens. Likewise, with Ortlieb Roller Classics on my Tubus rack in back I never have an issue with heel strike. Not once.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
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    '12 Rodriguez UTB Custom, '83 Miyata 610, '83 Nishiki Century Mixte (Work of Art), '06 Specialized Epic Marathon MTB
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    Having tried both 700c and 26" tourers, comfort and speed are dependent on tire width and quality instead of wheel diameter, IMO. If you're looking at the LHT (a solid bike, btw), you should be able to easily try both and make your own decision. You mentioned traveling overseas. If that's something you foresee doing more with your new bike, I would suggest going with 26" tires hands down as they are ubiquitous worldwide. Even bike shops in the middle of nowhere carry 26" tires, rims and spokes. They may not be of the best quality, but they will get the job done in bailing you out and getting you to the next major city. In other words, they give you some peace of mind. For this reason alone, I personally have a strong preference for 26" touring bikes.

  6. #6
    Member
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    Nov 2011
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    Good on you that you are moving forward with cycling after your health issues! I also have a LHT with 700 wheels. My big size 13 feet have no issues with my Arkel bags. I have not ridden a 26" wheel bike in over 20 years, mainly because of my height (6'5"). I am about to plunk down the wad for a Surly Ogre w/ 29" wheels. I do have a touring buddy that has a Randonee that he is very happy with. Plus you get the advantage of the REI rebate for the next year after purchase!!
    Not sure this helped! Good Luck!!

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